The Special Representatives (SRs) of India and China on the vexed boundary dispute are expected to meet later this month ahead of a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Argentina on the margins of the G-20 summit.
National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi are the designated SRs for the border talks. The 21st round of talks between them is expected to take place in the Chinese city of Dujiangyan, sources said.
The two SRs are expected to discuss a plethora of issues connected with the border dispute which has bedevilled ties between the two nations. They will also discuss ways to promptly defuse tensions on the common border so that a situation like the tense Doklam stand-off witnessed last summer does not recur. Sources said the proposal for a hotline between the defence ministries of the two countries would also be on the table.
The SRs meeting will take place days before bilateral talks between Modi and Xi, both of whom are scheduled to attend the G-20 summit. This will be the fourth meeting between the two leaders. Relations between their two nations have improved considerably after last year’s Doklam face-off following an informal summit between them in Wuhan in April.
In fact, Chinese Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui on Friday stated at an India-China youth dialogue that Sino-Indian ties were at one of the best periods in history.
Top defence officials of the two countries met in China earlier this week and agreed on the importance of maintaining peace in the border areas while implementing the consensus reached between PM Modi and President Xi at Wuhan. The ninth annual defence and security dialogue was held over a year after the 73-day Doklam stand-off. The two sides agreed on enhancing defence exchanges and interactions at different levels between the two militaries.
The talks between SRs on the boundary issue are expected to be followed by Foreign Minister Wang’s visit to India for jointly inaugurating with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj the people-to-people and cultural exchange mechanism between the two countries.
The two militaries are also due to hold the annual ‘Hand-in-Hand’ drills next month in China after gap of one year.